The Art of Summarizing available on CourseDen

English Essay

Purpose: In this assignment, you will develop an original argument directly in response to the argument of another writer. Specifically, you will practice critical reading skills, presenting a clear and precise argument in your thesis statement, supporting your thesis with effective paragraphs, and incorporating sources (by quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing) in MLA format (through in-text citations and a works cited page).

Description:  We have read several essays excerpted from the anthology Coming of Age at the End of Nature. These essays address a variety of sustainability concerns. For your essay assignment, you will respond to the main argument of ONE of these essays: “Could Mopping Save the World? How Day-to-Day Chores Can Bring Big Changes” by Emily Schosid, “To Love an Owl” by Abby McBride, “Tamale Traditions: Cultivating an Understanding of Humans and Non-human Nature through Food” by Amy Coplen, “But I’ll Still Be Here” by James Orbesen and “Why I Wear Jordans in the Great Outdoors” by CJ Goulding.

Summary and Introduction: In the introductory paragraph, you will present a summary (5-7 sentences) of the author’s main argument and key points (you don’t need to give examples from the essay; you’ll do this in the body of the paper). Ideally, your summary should be between 5-7 sentences and should be written entirely in your own words, followed by an in-text citation. Remember, the argument isn’t simply what the essay is “about,” but rather what the writer is trying to actively persuade you to think or feel about an issue or subject related to sustainability. This argument might be explicit or implied. Please review the They Say/I Say excerpt on “The Art of Summarizing” available on CourseDen in Week Three’s “Essay One Resources.”

Thesis Statement To form your thesis, refer to the “Three Ways to Respond” excerpt from They Say/I Say, available on CourseDen in Week Three’s “Essay One Resources.” Your thesis will need to present a specific argument that critically and intellectually responds to the writer’s main argument you’ve summarized in the introduction, using one of the template prompts from the following categories:

1) “Disagree—and Explain Why” (56-59)

2) “Agree—But with a Difference” (59-62

3) “Agree and Disagree Simultaneously” (62-65)

Use the templates as guides for the basic structure of your argument but adapt these as needed to maintain coherency.

Supporting Argument/Body: Within your body paragraphs, you will “prove” and support your thesis. You should plan for approximately 3-5 body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should include a clear topic sentence and supporting examples from the essay. See the additional resources available on CourseDen in Week Three’s “Essay One Resources” for guidance on structuring your body paragraphs and incorporating evidence from the essay.

Conclusion: Re-emphasize and expand upon your own argument. Reflect on why this topic is important beyond the scope of your own essay. Why should your reader care? What is at stake? In other words, leave your reader with a sense of the larger issues relevant to your topic.

MLA Format:  Be sure to use the Purdue OWL website in formatting both your in-text citations and works-cited page. Be sure to cite every reference to your source, including any material summarized or paraphrased.

You do not need to complete any outside research for this assignment. Rather, this essay should be an original response to the essay of your choice. The grading rubric for this assignment is available on CourseDen in Week Three’s “Essay One Resources.

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